Posted on 17 January 2022
Following the eruption of Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Saturday evening, New Zealand NGOs are still waiting for official damage reports. The re-establishment of communications with their partner organisations and colleagues in Tonga is a priority.
New Zealand’s aid agencies have pre-positioned humanitarian stock within the region which means they are ready to support impacted communities as a matter of urgency. Any response will be coordinated with the New Zealand government’s response, and risks associated with the covid pandemic are also factored in.
“Reliable information and access is key to ensuring our humanitarian assistance is appropriate and effective. The disabling of the Southern Cross cable network, and ongoing covid restrictions has made both those things near impossible right now”, says Quenelda Clegg, Humanitarian Network Chair at the Council for International Development.
The Council for International Development (CID) is the umbrella organisation for New Zealand’s aid charities. All full members of CID are Code compliant, which means that the public can be reassured donations will reach the most vulnerable communities.
If New Zealanders want to help, the most effective response is to donate money rather than send stuff that may not be needed.
“Kiwi generosity following an emergency in the Pacific is the stuff of legend. But we know from previous experience how disruptive containers of goods sent by the public can be to any local emergency response,” says Quenelda Clegg.
During previous Pacific emergencies, local businesses desperate for customers, were undercut by donated overseas goods, many that were still available locally. These containers took up valuable wharf, blocked vital humanitarian supplies coming through, and in many cases, stuff not needed ends up in landfill.